Defectors (Challenge, 2001-2002)
Challenge is a channel that is dedicated to game shows, along with repeating classics, they’ve also had a go at making some of their own, and this is one of them. Defectors was hosted by Richard Orford, who was previously best-known for various shows in the 90s including The Disney Club and The Big Breakfast. The twist with this show was that one contestant and one studio audience member would win the star prize on offer.
Four contestants took part, the first round was First Impressions. The contestants introduced themselves, and then the studio audience of 100 people had to decide who they thought would give the correct answer by pressing the corresponding button on their keypad. The multiple-choice question was then asked (accompanied by a musical sting that is played about 50 times in every edition). If they get it right, the percentage of people who backed them was converted into points, so the more people you could get on your side, the better you could do. After two questions, the audience could vote again and defect to another contestant if they wanted to.
The second round was Trust Me. The category is given, and the contestants have ten seconds to explain why people should defect to them. This also produced some of the more unintentionally amusing moments of the show. Firstly, when a contestant is clearly bluffing and insist that they are an expert on a category they have no knowledge about, and secondly, they are cut off when time is up, however long they are into their appeal.
The audience then defect again, and three multiple-choice questions are asked on the category. This carries on, until the halfway point when the contestant with the lowest score is eliminated, and Richard says “the audience have defected against you”. Also around this point, Richard reveals which audience member currently has the best chance of winning. Again, this turns out to be a rather amusing moment as their response to suddenly having the spotlight put on them ranges from total disinterest to utter shock.
After some more categories and appeals, another contestant is eliminated, and the two remaining to go into the final round which is Quick Defect. The scores are reset to zero, and questions are now on the buzzer. The category is given and the audience have to defect before every question, this carries on until time runs out. The scores are then revealed, and the winning contestant and audience member both receive £1,000.
There was also an interactive element to Defectors, as Sky Digital viewers could play along at home by pressing the buttons on their remote control. The first time I remember watching it though was during a repeat run about five years after it originally ended on the now long-gone channel FTN, and until recently it still turned up on Challenge in late-night repeat runs. Not too bad an effort at all really.